Tierna Unruh-Enos is publisher at The Paper.


This is a developing story, please check back for updates.

SANTA FE – New Mexico is experiencing an unprecedented surge in COVID-19, the severe acute respiratory syndrome caused by the novel coronavirus, according to information released by Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham in a press conference on Nov. 13, 2020.

In order to combat what is being described as a severe crisis for New Mexico hospitals and “a life-or-death situation,” the governor announced stay-at-home instructions in a revised emergency public health order.

These changes are being called a “reset” in order to “blunt the unprecedented spike of COVID-19 illnesses and to attempt to relieve dramatically escalating strain on hospitals and health care providers across the state.” Here’s what you need to know:

  • Essential businesses may operate during the next two weeks if they reduce their operations and in-person workforce to the greatest extent possible;
  • Retail spaces that are identified as essential businesses may operate in a limited fashion;
  • Close-contact businesses (think: barbershops, hair salons, gyms, nail salons, spas) must reduce their in-person workforce 100% through Nov. 30 for the duration of the public health order;
  • Close-contact recreational facilities (think: indoor movie theaters, casinos, concert venues, event venues, bars/clubs/venues) must remain closed;
  • Houses of worship may not exceed either 25 percent of the maximum occupancy of any enclosed building or 75 individuals at any one time, whichever is smaller;
  • Outdoor recreational facilities (think: golf courses, public swimming pools, outdoor tennis courts, ski basins, and New Mexico state parks) must close through Nov. 30 for the duration of the public health order;
  • Indoor malls are closed;
  • Any gathering of more than five individuals is prohibited.

Health and Human Services Department Secretary Dr. David Scrace, M.D. described the situation in the state’s healthcare system saying, “We don’t have a bed capacity problem, we have a staffing problem.”

The Rapid Response COVID-19 Watchlist, from the New Mexico Environment Department indicates that ten businesses have been ordered temporarily closed under requirements of the Oct. 22, 2020 public health order. Just one of those state-enforced closures comes from Bernalillo County, the others coming from Chaves, Doña Ana, Luna, McKinley, San Juan and Santa Fe counties.

Governor Lujan Grisham emotionally implored people in New Mexico to hunker down, indicating that our hospital system is reaching a breaking point, “It is not worth the risk. We can prevent [death] to a large degree – and we must”

No More Dining Out [Inside] at Restaurants

Returning to the stance from earlier this year, restrictions on restaurants and bars will include:

  • Food and drink establishments may provide curbside pickup and delivery services; on-site dining is prohibited.

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